The high-profile event will be held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on 28-29 March 2018 at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, a biodiversity scientist by training, is the very first Muslim woman to be elected the leader of an African republic and President of the Republic of Mauritius, a set of islands in the Indian Ocean about 860 kilometres off the Island of Madagascar. She is an ideal example of a strong female leader who is highly educated and an excellent decision maker whose foresightedness has hugely benefitted her country with an estimated population of 1.3 million.
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim said: “I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah for his kind invitation and utmost hospitality. It is always a pleasure to visit the UAE. This region of the Middle East has witnessed unprecedented progress and development over the past decades. It is testimony to what vision and leadership can do. It is my first time visiting Sharjah and I am looking forward to discovering it.”
“The theme of the conference is timely as we are witnessing tremendous progress in the world of information and communication technologies and how they are shaping Media. The latter is in turn not only impacting the world of business through advertising but influencing elections. It will be interesting to hear countries experiences and share best practices. Views of the millennials will be interesting to hear.” Gurib-Fakim added.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council (SMC), said: “We are honoured to have Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius, at the International Government Communication Forum, and look forward to hearing her speak about her pioneering experiences in the field of innovative government communication. Her tangible scientific and academic breakthroughs and achievements, as well as her experience in communication have enabled her to be heard, and she succeeded in winning the confidence of member of the country’s parliament in no time.”
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed underscored that Gurib-Fakim is one of the most influential women in the world, and the third African female president after Joyce Hilda Banda, President of Malawi, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia. He pointed out that hosting her will enhance the Forum, which has become a powerful platform for world leaders, influencers and senior officials to express their ideas, thoughts and vision about the future of government communication, and how to deploy it effectively in tackling major developmental and international issues.
An Extraordinary Life
Gurib-Fakim was born in village Surinam on Mauritius Island on October 17, 1959, into a Muslim family of Indian origins. The rich biological diversity of her country played a vital role in her decision to study Biochemistry. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Surrey in the UK in 1983, and then went on to complete a PhD in Organic Chemistry at Exeter University in the UK in 1987.
In her early career, she worked as a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Mauritius, Dean of Faculty of Sciences and later Vice Chancellor of the University of Mauritius. She was selected as a member of the ‘Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique’ (CIDP) Research & Innovation, and a member of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). She is also a founding member of the Association for African Medicinal Plants and African Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and held other scientific and academic positions.
Prior to joining politics, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is known for many scientific achievements, most notably preparing the first inventory list of medicinal and aromatic plants in the islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues. She has written 30 books and published more than 80 scientific researches on biological diversity and sustainable development.
Gurib-Fakim is recipient of an array of honours and awards, such as the African Union Award for ‘Women in Science’ in 2009, the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for ‘Women in Science for Africa’ in 2007, ‘Emma Award’ which is organised by Bank One Limited to honour people who made the most prestigious achievements in Mauritius, and many other national state awards.
In keeping with its goals to pioneer best practices in government communications, the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2018) will focus on contemporary challenges faced by government communications in the region and the world.
An elite group of global influencers, world statesmen, CEOs, technology leaders, academics and media experts will come together to explore solutions, which can enhance communications in the future. In doing so, the IGCF will draw a roadmap to improve government communication for a better world in which all nations can enjoy social justice, equality, prosperity and progress.